The Power of Coffee Naps: Increase Your Alertness

The Power of Coffee Naps: Increase Your Alertness

Here is a fact: Your body naturally goes into a slumber every day between 2 pm and 3 pm. 

Here is another fact: Most people turn to caffeine or short 20-minute power naps as a way to fight fatigue and increase productivity. 

So, why not combine caffeine and naps for an energy kick-starting combination? We want to introduce the coffee nap, a new powerful sleep trend that could help you “up” your nap game. 

What is it?

The premise is simple enough, have a cup of coffee, then take a quick 20-minute nap. This process is called a coffee nap. It might sound like a crazy idea, as the conventional wisdom around coffee and caffeine is that it interferes with sleep, but a coffee power nap maximizes brain alertness. 

Studies have shown that there is a valid link between taking 200mg of caffeine before taking a one hour nap. The effects of a quick nap against mid-afternoon sleepiness could be enhanced by combining caffeine intake. 

How it Works!

Adenosine is a byproduct of brain activity, and when it accumulates at high enough levels, it plugs into receptors in the brain that make you feel tired. But with the caffeine blocking the receptors, it's unable to do so [1]. Caffeine doesn't block every single adenosine receptor, but it competes with Adenosine for these spots, filling some, but not others and takes about 20 minutes to start working.

Here's the trick of the coffee nap: sleeping naturally clears adenosine from the brain [2]. If you nap for longer than 15 or 20 minutes, your brain is more likely to enter deeper stages of sleep that take some time to recover from [3]. However, shorter naps are usually lower risk — and it takes around 20 minutes for the caffeine to get through your gastrointestinal tract and enter the bloodstream.

So, if you nap for those 20 minutes, you'll reduce your levels of Adenosine just in time for the caffeine to kick in. The caffeine will have less adenosine to compete with and will be even more effective in making you alert

Coffee Naps are Better than Regular Naps

One study done by [4] researchers at Loughborough University in the UK found that when tired participants took a 15-minute coffee nap, they went on to commit fewer errors in a driving simulator than when they were given only coffee, or only took a nap. 

A similar study done in Japan found that people who had a coffee nap before participating in memory test did significantly better than those who only had a nap or cup of coffee [5].

How to Take a Coffee Nap

Taking a coffee nap is pretty straightforward. First, drink coffee. Theoretically, you could drink another caffeinated beverage, but tea and soda generally have much less caffeine than coffee and energy drinks are typically not healthy. Here's a good database of the amount of caffeine in many types of beverages.

In order to get the most out of a coffee nap, make sure to down your drink of choice. This is to give yourself a decently long window of time to sleep as it's going through your gastrointestinal tract and entering your bloodstream. It's tough to drink a lot of hot coffee quickly; so we recommend a strong espresso or Cold Brew Shot so you can get double the caffeine without too much work. 

Right after you've finished, immediately try to go to sleep. Don't worry if it doesn't come easily — just reaching a tranquil half-asleep stage can be helpful.

Finally, make sure to wake up within 20 minutes, so you don't enter the deeper stages of sleep and you're awake when the caffeine is just starting to hit your brain.

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If you want to learn more about surprising facts about espresso, you can read it here



REFERENCES

[1]http://lifehacker.com/5585217/what-caffeine-actually-does-to-your-brain

[2]http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/why-do-we-sleep

[3]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8936399

[4]http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1388245703002554 

[5]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1388245703002554

[6]http://www.caffeineinformer.com/the-caffeine-database